Simmons, Robin (2014) Liberal and general studies in further education: voices from the chalk face. In: FERA Conference 2014, 11-13 July 2014, Harris Manchester College, Oxford. (Unpublished)
Abstract

This paper focuses on the history of further education in England, and the role of liberal and general studies (LGS) in the vocational curriculum during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Drawing on research funded by the Raymond Williams Foundation, the paper presents qualitative data from interviews with former LGS teachers and locates its findings within competing discourses about the nature and purpose of vocational education more broadly. Central to the paper is the argument that, in the past, LGS – or at least certain conceptions of LGS – offered a vehicle for radical working-class education; a tradition which it is argued has largely been squeezed out of further education by successive waves of state intervention, especially from the 1980s onwards, and a conception of vocational education based largely upon an impoverished, technicist view of work and the labour process.

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